Two clubs looking to get back in the win column collide when Toronto FC pay a visit to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium.
TFC are coming off three consecutive losses, the latest setback coming at the hands of the Chicago Fire two weeks ago. Dallas’ fortunes have not fared much better, having suffered back-to-back defeats after starting their season brightly, a 3-1 upset of Sporting Kansas City being the most notable.
Dallas has never lost to Toronto and look to extend that unbeaten streak to 13 games when the two teams lock horns again. Despite the negativity that may surround Dallas after starting 3-0 but since then dropping to 3-2, head coach Oscar Pareja remains positive that his team will get back on track. “We are still in a good spot,” Pareja explained to the club's official website.
“It's early and we have a team that is preparing for the long run-a long journey through the MLS season. We are not going to be that low when we lose or that high when we win. We'll just keep doing what we do.”
Stephen Keel and Coy Craft remain out for the home side, but Mauro Diaz remains questionable and could be fit for the tie. If Diaz is fit to start, it will come as a big boost for Dallas side struggling to control games and generating offence.
Meanwhile, Toronto is a team going in a completely opposite direction. After spending big bucks in the off-season, acquiring big name designated players Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, the team has lost three straight after winning their opening game of the season.
TFC have struggled with suspensions, players out on international duty, and injuries, lots of injuries. Defenders Steven Caldwell, Eriq Zavaleta and Clement Simonin remain sidelined for the weekend’s fixture. Greg Vanney’s men could receive a big boost, however, as Damien Perquis ‘could return’ for Saturday’s game.
With the amount of players out from the back line, it is no surprise Toronto is the only club in the league allowing two goals per game thus far.
“Some of our mistakes are because guys feel uncomfortable when they should be comfortable,” coach Vanney explained to the club's official website. “They panic a little bit and make decisions that they normally wouldn't make, and they know better than that.”
Toronto will be boosted by Captain Michael Bradley’s return to the lineup, despite putting in a full shift in the U.S. men’s national team’s 2-0 win over Mexico in midweek.
Altidore and Blas Perez will be the key men for both sides as they try to lead their respective teams to victory. Dallas has mustered just one goal in their last three games, and Perez will be looked upon to lead the line and add to his team leading three goals.
Toronto has been able to score just three times in their last three, and a big part of it is the service to Altidore and his absence with the US national team for a game. Altidore will need to take every opportunity he gets to boost his confidence and add to his one goal on the season.
Both sides are in a rough patch and it will be a good opportunity for either side to strike while the wounds are fresh and get their respective team back on track.